Day 322

1 Corinthians 9:26 (NLT) … I am not just shadowboxing.

Shadowbox –  to box with an imaginary opponent especially as a form of training.

Wii Boxing is a favorite game around our house.  My five year old Gus will take off his shirt and play until he’s worked himself into a sweat.  He faces each imaginary opponent with crazy amounts of intensity.  He starts throwing punches into the air as soon as the match starts and he doesn’t stop until the match is over.  It’s pretty entertaining to watch.  His form is terrible, but it doesn’t really matter because the guy he’s up against isn’t real and neither is the Mii he created to represent himself.  It’s  an imaginary fight… more for fun than for anything else… except maybe a good elbow workout.

The fight Paul was in was not imaginary.  He wasn’t up against someone who didn’t really exist.  He wasn’t throwing punches into the air.  He wasn’t just putting on a show.  He wasn’t just shadowboxing.

He was up against a very real opponent, the same opponent we are all up against.  Satan.  Weather you want to believe it or not, he’s real, and we are living in his world as of this moment.  The good news is Satan has already been defeated.  Jesus took the fight against Him and won.  Sin has no power over us, death has been defeated and we have been given authority to overcome all of the power of the enemy.  Yet, we are still in a fight.  We have to contend for the victory that Jesus won for us.

We are not called to shadowbox.  We need to be taking real shots at our real enemy.  We can’t afford to stay in training mode forever, we have to start actually hitting something other than air… using something other than our fists.  We gotta fight this fight with everything in us using God’s word as our weapon.

Isaiah 55:11 (NLT) It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

The word of God is powerful and sharper than any two edged sword.  It packs a punch-  a real punch, a punch that will knock the enemy off of his feet.

After we delivered our son stillborn last year I was devastated, but more determined than ever to take aim at the enemy and beat the daylights out of him everyday with the word of God.  I threw real punches directed right at him and the fear, doubt, sadness, confusion, and darkness that he was trying to take me down with.  He’s resilient.  He would get back up and try again, but as long as I kept telling him what God said he had to flee.  He became more and more worn down and it became harder and harder for him to stand.

Whatever you find yourself up against today- infertility, loss, fear, sickness, discouragement, stress… realize that the enemy behind what you are up against is real, and to take out a real enemy you need to throw real punches.  Don’t just throw some positive words up, say a little half hearted prayer or gripe about what’s going on- you’ll be wasting your energy punching the air.  You need to fill your heart and mind with God’s word and strike some serious blows against him.  Real, hard, perfectly aimed, forthright, and intentional blows that leave you standing in the center ring, Jesus holding up your glove, Satan T.K.O.’ed.

  1. God’s word never returns void, but accomplishes the purpose for which it was sent!
  2. Sin has no hold on me.
  3. Death has no sting.
  4. All authority to be victorious against our enemy has been given to us.
  5. “Love Is War” by Hillsong United.
  6. Wii Boxing!
  7. Heard some old hymns on the way to church this morning… the kind my Grandpa Wagner liked.  Made me smile thinking about him singing in heaven.
  8. Nice Sunday afternoon nap.
  9. Great day for swimming at the pool.
  10. The amount of entertainment a pool noodle from the dollar store provided Gus today.
  11. The kid’s little tan lines.
  12. The elaborate list of games my dad has come up with to play at our family reunion this weekend.  Him and my mom always makes things fun and special.
  13. In one week Josh & I will be enjoying 75 degree weather, palm trees, shopping, and spontaneity!
  14. Tasty fish taco for lunch.
  15. My hard working husband pulled a 12 hour day today!  Man, I appreciate him!
  16. When Beau smiles with her tongue out.
  17. Left overs for dinner.
  18. Chili’s chips and salsa to go.
  19. The cute little puppies that kept the kids entertained while we were waiting on our chips.
  20. Driving around to some Little Praise Party with Beau singing and doing motions in the back seat.
  21. Pony tail holders.  I’m going to need lots of them the next few days since I decided to be lazy and not dry my hair tonight.
  22. Josh got home just in time to tell Gus goodnight and tuck him in bed.
  23. Food Network Star night with Josh!
  24. Sweet message from a 10kreasons reader.
  25. “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”  Beau chooses it every night for one of her bedtime books.
  26. Got a response to an e-mail I sent to someone a while ago that I figured had been forgotten!  Made my night!
  27. I read the baby can now hear voices in the womb.  I shared that with Gus & Beau and they had to talk to my tummy tonight before bed.  This little baby is already so loved!

Day 307

I have been a mom for a little over 5 years now and the phrase I’ve heard the most times during those 5 years has gotta be “Mom, watch me!”

Yesterday we set up a new blow up pool in the back yard for the kids to play in and at one point they were both yelling at the same time, “Mom, watch!  Mom, watch!”  My five year old Gus wanted to me watch him run and jump in.  My two year old Beau wanted me to watch her put her bubble wand in the water.  They would not stop yelling watch until they saw me look up and watch… even though I had already seen Gus jump in the pool and Beau put her wand in the pool several times that afternoon, I watched, and I told them how awesome they were.

A child does not have to be taught to want to be watched.  I never sat down with Gus and explained that when he was doing something he wanted mommy and daddy to see that he should ask us to watch him, he just figured it out.  It’s a natural instinct to want to be noticed and to want to be praised, especially by your parents.

Because God is our heavenly father it’s natural for us to want to be noticed and praised by Him.  We don’t go around shouting, “God, watch me!” all of the time, but I think if we’re being honest, sometimes we wonder if He is watching.

Did he see my pay my tithe, even though I paid it online?  Did he watch me serve in the kid’s ministry at church this weekend?  Did he notice that I resisted the urge to complain?  Did he watch us leave the lake early so we could take our family to church on Sunday?  Did he see me choose to spend time in prayer in the car instead of listening to the radio?

Obviously, our relationship with God isn’t based on our performance and the things we do, just like my relationship with my children isn’t based on their performance, it’s based on unconditional love, but even still it’s nice to know that I am pleasing to God and that He sees me living my life to honor Him.

In Matthew 3 Jesus has just been baptized by John the Baptist and as soon as he comes out of the water this happens,

Verse 16-17 ….and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

God wanted everyone that was present to know that He was pleased with Jesus, but He wanted Jesus to know it too.  He wanted Jesus to know He was watching.

You might could say, “Yeah, but that’s Jesus, of course God was watching His every move, how can we know that He is watching our every move?”  And I might could say, “because Jesus said so.”

Luke 12:6-7  Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

If God is watching and knows when 5 little sparrows get sold and how much they got sold for, don’t you think He is watching you?  He most certainly is!  I got my hair trimmed and thinned out yesterday, God was watching and He knows what my new hair count is.  Isn’t that amazing?

We never have to say, “Dad, watch me!”  to God, because He is watching all the time and I’m sure if you took the time to ask Him how He feels about you this morning He would tell you the same thing He told Jesus, “you are pleasing to me.” 

  1. I am never forgotten by God.
  2. He knows the number of hairs on my head.
  3. We are pleasing to Him because Jesus was pleasing to Him.
  4. Sparrows.  My favorite little birdies.
  5. I have two little kids who are always asking me to watch them.
  6. The kids went upstairs this morning and played together for a good hour.  So sweet hearing them laugh and pretend together.
  7. Josh & I stayed downstairs and got to have some good talks!
  8. When Josh comes back from a run and has some awesome revelation from God to share with me.
  9. Check book balanced.
  10. Started a new Disney Land savings thermometer for our 2014 trip!
  11. Gus really enjoyed his design a super hero scene kit I found at Target the other day.
  12. My fridge is completely covered, I mean completely covered, with the kid’s art work.
  13. Beau took an extra long nap today and then stayed in her room and read books another 30 minutes after she was up.
  14. I got two blogs written today and lots of things checked off of my to do list for work.
  15. Apples and popcorn.
  16. Getting ready for church was much easier this week with all my new dresses to choose from.
  17. Beau wanted to bring her little chick purse to church.  She was so proud of it and wanted to make sure everyone noticed it.  Adorable.
  18. Inside Beau’s purse:  Tiny Piglet figurine and Superman’s Dog, Krypto.  She’s so fun!
  19. We sang both of the songs at church tonight that I had been singing at home all day.
  20. Great message by Pastor Robert about being in God’s presence.
  21. Gateway so values the presence of God!
  22. Yummy and easy leftovers for dinner.
  23. Beau singing “How Great Is Our God” at the dinner table.  She said she sang it in her class tonight.
  24. The teachers that work in Gus & Beau’s classes at church.  They do such a good job and I can always tell the kids have been fed the word when I pick them up.
  25. My husband was looking extra handsome and extra spiffy in his little bow tie.
  26. Beau was swinging her purse in on the way to Kroger and we didn’t notice Piglet and Krypto fell out until we were checking out, but we found them both lying in the street on the way back to the car.  Phew.
  27. Sleep started at 9:00 tonight… on Josh’s shoulder… to Mountain Men.

Day 300

The city or town that you were raised in always holds a special place in your heart.  I was born in Tulsa Oklahoma.  I met my husband in Tulsa.  I got married in Tulsa.  I had my first son in Tulsa.  The first house we owned was in Tulsa.  We moved to North Dallas about three and half years ago, but to me, Tulsa will always be home.  If I were to find out one day that Tulsa wasn’t doing so great and it might be wiped off the face of the earth in a few years, it would be heartbreaking.

When Nehemiah received news of the condition of Jerusalem, the land that was promised to God’s people, he was heartbroken.  He resided in Persia, but his heart was in Jerusalem.  He knew the city was important to God, so it was important to Him.  It grieved him to hear that her walls had been broken down and her gates destroyed by fire.  He sat down and mourned for Jerusalem for about an hour and then he went on his way, realizing he was just one man and there was no way he could do anything to help the city that he loved.

No, actually he sat down and wept and mourned for DAYS!  He fasted and prayed constantly before the God of Heaven.  During that time, God was doing something in his heart, something that would change Jerusalem forever.  The days Nehemiah spent mourning were crucial to the assignment God would give him to rebuild the walls.

When heartbreaking things happen we tend to want to get over them as soon as possible, but whenever we force ourselves to “dry up” and get over it instead of taking the proper amount of time to mourn, we may miss out on God doing something life changing in our hearts.

It’s okay to mourn and it’s okay to mourn for more than a day… Nehemiah mourned for DAYS, but he didn’t just cry and feel sorry for God’s favorite city, He cried and He prayed.  He had very real conversations with the Lord.  He didn’t mourn alone, He mourned with God and God showed him how he could help.

What would the world look like if people actually took time to mourn with God instead of trying to get over grief asap?  What would the world look like if we all slowed down and let God work on our hearts about the things that sadden us?  What if we all grieved like Nehemiah grieved?

You are just one person same as Nehemiah was just one person, but God can use you to influence more lives than you can imagine.

I grieved with God for about a month after the loss of our son Felix, and during that month God began to speak to me about writing this blog.  I was nervous about it.  I didn’t even mention it to my husband Josh, because I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to do it.  One night while he was out of town I decided to sit down and write and just see what happened… my first post seemed to magically come together.  I knew it was exactly what God had been asking me to do, so the next morning I shared it on Facebook.  300 days later and I can’t believe all that God has done through me.  23,000 views, countless e-mails from women who have lost babies that have been encouraged by it and a desire in my heart to share it with even more people in the form of a book.

It was while I was grieving God stirred my heart to write.  Don’t rush to get out grief instead grieve with God and let him do something great in you.

Any great work of God begins with God doing a great work in somebody. – David Guzik

  1. God doesn’t expect you to get over your grief a.s.a.p.
  2. If you mourn with God He  can do something great in your heart.
  3. He turns mourning into dancing.
  4. One person can influence many persons.
  5. I grieved with God and during that process He gave me the idea for 10kreasons.
  6. 300 days of writing and learning and going deeper with God.
  7. Over 23,000 views on 10kreasons.
  8. The women who have taken time to e-mail me their stories and let me know that they are being ministered to by the blog.
  9. T-town!  Tulsa will always have a special place in my heart.
  10. Bills paid.
  11. Yummy leftover pizza from Mellow Mushroom.
  12. Beau brought me her kid’s Bible and let me read the whole thing to her this morning.
  13. Beau’s so cute with her flower clips in her hair.
  14. Gus has been very responsible with his Nintendo D.S.  He always puts it back in it’s spot when he is finished playing and makes sure it’s being charged for the next day.
  15. Kids are old enough that I can put on a show for them, tell them not to answer the door, and go take a shower.
  16. Worship tonight at Gateway Frisco was so powerful.  Happy to have Amber back!
  17. Pastor Robert is back!!!  So glad he’s feeling better!
  18. Awesome message on honoring and loving the physical body that God has given us.
  19. Pastor Robert is not prideful.  He shared so openly about the things God has been dealing with him about and I know what he shared will help many people.
  20. Lots of people getting baptized in the rain tonight!
  21. Yummy green chile chicken enchilada casserole tonight for dinner.
  22. Beau asked for seconds!
  23. I’m not sure how it’s possible, but Beau seems to be getting cuter every single day.  She is such a perfect little girl.
  24. My sweet friend Julie is celebrating her birthday today.  Awesome mom, wife, friend, and follower of Christ.  The kind of person that challenges you every time you get around her.
  25. Online shopping!
  26. Finally found some cute maternity dresses for church.
  27. A few minutes after I tucked Gus in I heard him crying I went to check on him and when I asked him why he was crying he said, “I never want to grow up.  I want to be a little boy forever so I can always live with you and dad.”  I told him he’s welcome to stay with us for as long as he wants!  Sweet boy!

Day 279

My mother gave birth to six children.  Her oldest now 43, her youngest 25.  All of these years later and she still remembers how much each baby weighed, what time of day we were born, and all of the little details about each of our “birth” days.  She remembers the name of everyone’s kindergarden teacher, our social security numbers, and the names of the kids we played sports with.  She now has 17 grandchildren.  Her oldest 25, her youngest 3 months.  She’s never forgotten one of their birthdays, she even remembers to send out Valentines and Easter cards.  She never forgot about any of my cheerleading practices or tumbling lessons.  She never forgot about my brother’s baseball games.  She never forgot to pack our lunch or give us lunch money.  She never forgot to sign my daily agenda in middle school.  She never forgot to give us a kiss after we were already fast asleep for the night.

Mother’s have a special ability to not forget.  I’m the same way with my children.  I’ve never forgotten to pick up my son from school.  I still remember what I was wearing the day I went in to the hospital to have him.  I remember his first word was car and the first time he tasted a french fry.  I remember how he felt to hold in his green froggy footed jammies and I remember what he smelled like when the nurses brought him in after his very first bath.  I remember that my daughter was the exact weight I guessed she would be, 7 pounds 7 ounces.  I remember the outfit I brought her home in.  I remember her first word was bubba and the first time she walked across a room.  I remember how she felt when I got to hold her skin to skin, perfect.

Although my mom was extra good at not forgetting she wasn’t perfect and neither am I.  Just the other day I was putting my daughter to bed when she reminded me that she hadn’t had her milk.  I told her in the car on the way home from dinner that I would get it for her when we got home, but I got inside, got busy and totally forgot.

Isaiah 49:14-15 (AMP) But Zion [Jerusalem, her people as seen in captivity] said, The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.  [And the Lord answered] Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you.

There are many people who can relate to “Zion.”  Maybe they haven’t heard from God in a while, or they don’t feel His hand on their lives, or maybe God’s goodness seems hard to pin point and they feel forgotten.  Maybe they asked God for a cup of milk and they still haven’t received it, so they figure He got busy and forgot all about their prayer.  But God isn’t like that.  He’s even better than a mother at not forgetting about us.

“He cannot forget, because of his nature, on which forgetfulness cannot properly fall; he will not, because of his promise, which never fails; he may seem to his people to have forgotten them, and he may be thought to have done so by others; he forgets their sins, but not their persons; he cannot forget his love, nor his covenant with them, nor his promises made to them; nor does he forget their love to him, nor their works, words, and thoughts; the righteous are had by him in everlasting remembrance.” -Gills Exposition

God is our father, but He loves us with a motherly love that never forgets.  This Mother’s Day I am grateful that I have the kind of mom that American Poet Helen Steiner Rice wrote about,

A mother’s love is fashioned after God’s enduring love, it is endless and unfailing like the love of Him above. 

  1. God has not nor will He ever forget about me.
  2. God is our father, but He loves us with a motherly love too.
  3. My mom.  I never felt forgotten growing up with her as my mother.
  4. My mother in law.  Search high and low and you could not find a mother in law as wonderful as mine.
  5. I get to celebrate Mother’s Day because God made me a mother!
  6. Gussy.  The first person to ever call me “mamma.”
  7. Beau.  The second person to even call me “mamma.”
  8. Felix.  Someday I will meet Him in heaven and he will call me “mamma.”
  9. In December God will add another little Blount baby to our family that will call me “mamma.”
  10. Soaked up some very good stuff this weekend at the Pastor’s Wive’s Retreat.
  11. Got to know Erin & Nadege even better this weekend and got to meet some new wonderful ladies.
  12. Got to hear from Pastor Robert this morning!
  13. Jan loaned me her sweater so I did not have to shiver through the second morning session.
  14. Sweet and intimate worship with Pastor David.
  15. Traffic was much lighter driving home this afternoon.
  16. When I got home I was greeted by the cutest little blonde boy in the world in his Sonic The Hedgehog shirt and Ninja Turtle undies.
  17. Beau was napping when I got home so I got to do some napping when I got home!
  18. Gus let me cuddle up with him and sleep while he watched a movie.
  19. Beautiful, beautiful evening.
  20. Swings creaking and leaves blowing in the wind.  Good sounds!
  21. Me and Beau got to take Gus to our new favorite park.  It’s his new favorite park now too.
  22. Gus got to be such a little boy and go exploring in a creek tonight.  He was in his happy place!
  23. I get the most refreshed being around my family.  They are so life giving!
  24. Cobb Salad from Chick Fil A for dinner… better than the $14 salad I got at Cheesecake Factory the other day.
  25. Came home to a clean house this afternoon.
  26. Got to see pictures of my friend J.J.’s sweet little baby from her ultrasound!!!  God is SO good!!!
  27. Josh had a really cool spiritual dream where God showed him what to ask for when it’s time to sell our house someday.

Day 267

Last year I learned that my four year old Gus is not quite ready to keep a secret.  I purchased a watch for my husband Josh’s birthday gift and when it arrived in the mail I showed it to Gus.  I said, “This is what we got for dad.  We will give it to him in a few days at his birthday party.  Don’t tell him what we got him okay?  It’s a secret!”  He agreed.

That night Josh got home from work and Gus says to him at the dinner table, “Dad, we definitely did NOT get you a watch for your birthday.”  Josh smiled at me.  He knew immediately that a watch was exactly what we got him for his birthday.

If you want to keep a secret a secret you can only tell it to people that are trustworthy.

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.

What a great verse.  God, the creator of the universe, wants to share His secrets with us.  We trust Him with our lives and He trusts us with His secrets.

Everyone should have a special covenant friend.  Mine happens to be my niece-in-law, Courtney. She knows my secrets.  I tell her things before I tell anyone else, besides Josh of course.  She gets privileged information based on our relationship.

God says that the people that honor Him, are his special covenant friends.  They get privileged information based on their relationship with Him.

The Hebrew word for “secret” is the word “cowd”.  It literally means a couch or a cushion.  God wants to share his couch with us.  He wants us to come over, make ourselves at home, and have a seat on his couch.  The couch where He shares His secrets.  Not everyone is allowed to sit on “the couch”, only those who are true worshippers have a spot with their name on it.

Also interesting, the primary meaning of the root word for “secret” is to be or to make tight.  In other words, if you want to be tight with God, you must honor God!

The more time you spend on the couch with Him the more He will show you about your covenant with Him.  You will begin to see His goodness in ways you’ve never seen it before.  His love and favor will be clearly revealed to you.  His Word will make more sense to you.  Your understanding about who He is will be enlightened.  These are the kind of secrets you NEED to know!    

The message sums it up perfectly, God-friendship is for God-worshipers;
They are the ones he confides in.

  1. God-friendship!
  2. When we put our trust in God He trusts us with His secrets.
  3. My covenant with God.
  4. My friend Bethani posted Psalm 25:14 on her FB wall today.  Glad she shared such a cool verse.
  5. My confidant, Courtney.
  6. Perfect morning for a trip to the Dallas Zoo.
  7. Josh took today off.
  8. Breakfast with the family before the zoo.
  9. The kids did great on the drive up even thought we got stuck in some traffic.
  10. Simon & Garfunkel Pandora.
  11. The animals were very entertaining today!
  12. Beau got to feed her giraffes.
  13. We got to see the lions do a show… very impressive and the closest I’ve ever been to a lion.
  14. The gorilla that was cracking Beau up.
  15. Beau did not want anything to do with the snake exhibits.  Such a girl.
  16. Gus actually LIKES getting his picture taken.  I thought the day would never come.
  17. Kids both told us thank you for taking them to the zoo.
  18. Josh planned a date night for us!
  19. The Angelika theater in Plano.  When nothing is showing at the regular movies theaters, they’ve always got something up their sleeve.
  20. Mud.  Good movie.  Great acting.
  21. Yummy dinner at Chipotle.
  22. Fun time reminiscing with Josh about our first 5 years of marriage.
  23. Brookside Bueno.
  24. Kids did great for Miss Sascha.
  25. Got Gus’ birthday present purchased.  I can’t wait to give it him in a few weeks, he’s going to be so excited!
  26. Found Lilo & Stich on DVD… that’s been a hard one for us to find.
  27. Awesome gorilla video we stumbled upon this afternoon.  It had all 4 of us laughing.

Day 262

Psalm 100:4 (AMP) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

I’ve known Psalm 100:4 for as long as I can remember, but a few months ago I learned something new about it from my Pastor, Robert Morris.  Found in that one verse are four of the seven Hebrew words for worship.  Here’s how it breaks down in the Hebrew:

Enter into his gates with a thanksgiving choir and into his courts singing praises be thankful by extending your hands to him and bless him by bowing before His name.  

I have expressed my worship to God by singing with a choir of thankful people at church.  I have expressed my worship to God by singing praises all alone.  I have expressed my worship to God by lifting my hands to Him, but up until a few months ago I had never expressed my worship to Him by bowing before His name.

I have never been apart of a church where people would get on the their knees and worship the Lord, until we became apart of Gateway three years ago.  I still remember the first worship event I ever attended… people were kneeling- even the singers on stage.  I figured maybe that was just because it was a women’s event and women are just natural worshippers, but then Pastor Robert came to the Frisco campus for a regular Sunday service…. during worship I glanced over in his direction and couldn’t find him.  It was because he was down on his knees bowing before the Lord.

I never thought it was weird or flaky, in fact, I thought it was awesome, but it just wasn’t my worship style.  I would rather stand and lift my hands than bow.  It would be getting out of my comfort zone for sure.  So I went about my standard ways of worship until one night I found myself so overwhelmed by His goodness I knew there was no other way of expressing it other than to kneel before Him.  I talked myself out of it a few times during the first time we sang through the chorus, but I got my flesh to shut up long enough that by the second chorus I was bowing before His name.  I felt something break that night… it was like this little pride wall I had built up came crashing down.  There was no place I would have rather been that night then on my knees before my King.

I don’t know why I waited 27 years to express my worship in such a humbling way, but I’m thankful I didn’t wait 50 or 60 years, or until this scripture comes to pass

Romans 14:11 For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”

Your knees will hit the ground as you bow to God along with all of the other knees in the world on the day of judgement.  Do you want that to be the first time you bow before the God that you owe everything to?  I don’t think so!

He could have said, as I live, every hand shall clap for me or every foot will stomp for me, or every arm will be raised to me, or every body will dance for me, but he didn’t.  He said every knee shall bow to Me.  Why did He choose bowing over a great applause?  I believe it’s because bowing is the most humbling of all the different types of worship.

If you’ve never expressed your worship by bowing before the Lord, I just want to encourage you to lay down your pride and go for it.  God will be so very blessed as you bless His name in such an honoring way.

1 Peter 5:5 Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

  1. Pastor Robert’s great teaching on how to worship and express love to God. 
  2. He practices what he preaches.
  3. I shut my flesh up, laid down my pride and worshipped God on my knees.
  4. He gives grace to the humble.
  5. Someday every knee will bow!  And every tongue will confess!
  6. Revelation Song. What I was singing when I became so overwhelmed with His goodness.
  7. Gus is now in charge of getting Beau up every morning… they are so cute coming down stairs together with their little sleepy heads of hair.
  8. Finally got a play date in with the the Collin’s girls!
  9. Enjoyed getting to really talk with my friend Briana.
  10. The kids all had fun playing together!  Gus and Beau were already planning the next play date on the way home.
  11. Beau took an extra long nap.
  12. Spent the afternoon with Batman… who looked an awful lot like Gus.  He let me take some awesome pictures of him for the Gotham Post.
  13. I woke up from my nap to Beau laughing hysterically at a Pooh Bear short.  She has never laughed at a TV show like that before.  It was a fun way to wake up.
  14. Gus, who is not a fan of the grocery store, did not complain one time when I told him I forgot the pineapple for dinner and we had to make a trip to Kroger.
  15. I found a quarter in my purse when we were checking out so I got to reward him with a gum ball.
  16. Grilled pineapple.
  17. Josh cooked the caribbean jerk chicken for dinner perfectly.
  18. Jasmine rice.  My new favorite rice.  How is it so much better than minute rice?
  19. The chicken was too spicy for the kids, but they were more than satisfied with pineapple and turkey meat.  Easy enough.
  20. It warmed up quite a bit this afternoon!
  21. Watching the kids play hide and seek in the front yard.  Those two are pure joy.
  22. Finished the data entry project I’ve been trying to finish for a week.
  23. Skinna-ma-rink-a-dink-a-dink.  Beau’s eyes were so big when I sang this to her before bed tonight.  She asked for an encore.
  24. Nothing to do tonight but watch some T.V.
  25. Even though American Idol has been pretty awful this year Josh has stuck it out with me.
  26. The word God gave me at the beginning of the year that he reminded me of today.
  27. Josh laughs at my jokes… even the corny ones about historical figures.

Day 261

A few months ago my nephew Justin and his wife Courtney came to visit us.  They are big “Duck Dynasty” fans, so they wanted to watch a few episodes one night while they were here.  At that point, I had only seen one show and didn’t like it very much, but I decided to oblige them and watched three episodes with them.  I was hooked.  We started recording it and it’s my new favorite show.  I know I’m a little late discovering the greatness of the Robertson family, but at least I’ve discovered it.

After watching all 32 episodes on my DVR, I’ve found myself talking like the Robertson family.  I was telling my husband a story the other day and I could feel myself delivering it like Jase delivers his interviews.  I was teaching my two year old how to say “Happy, Happy, Happy” like Phil yesterday at lunch.  And never again will I refer to a hot donut as just a donut, it’s gotta be a “flaming hot donut.”

Their way of speaking and their mannerisms tend to transfer over to anyone who invests any time watching the show.  My father in law says “hey” a lot more than he used to and “Jack” is going to the be the most popular name in the world soon thanks to Si.  They are a rather contagious bunch of bearded men.

Anytime a person is a fan of someone, they study that someone and they usually end up talking or acting like them.  My son Gus is a HUGE “Wreck It Ralph” fan and he’s constantly quoting lines from the movie to me.  When I was a teenager I was Leonardo DiCaprio’s number one fan and since he talked out of the side of his mouth, I started talking out of the side of my mouth.  You imitate what you study.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (AMP) Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).

Paul wanted the Corinthian church to imitate him, because he was imitating Jesus.  He knew they needed an example and he was more than happy to be one for them.  He knew if they studied him, his mannerisms, his expressions, they way he talked, the way he worshipped and the way he treated other people that they would start to pattern their lives after him, which would be patterning their lives after Jesus.  If someone were to study you, to watch hours of your life unfold on television and then start imitating you, would they be imitating Jesus too?

You may not have your own television show, but you do have your own audience.  I have two little fans that watch me every single day for hours at time.  They are patterning their selves after me, following my example, and if I’m patterning myself after Jesus, then that means they are too!

We need to be devotees of each and every word in the teachings of Jesus.  We need to know, believe, remember, and apply His words.  We need to study Him.  We need to spend so much time with Him that we start to act like Him… we pick up on all of His ways.  The way He talks, the way He sees, the way He handles conflict, the way He relates to His father, the way He cares for people, the way He does everything.

Jesus is also a rather contagious bearded man… study Him so you can imitate Him.  You won’t regret it. That’s a fact JACK!

  1. You can’t go wrong imitating Jesus. 
  2. God blessed me with my own precious little audience.
  3. When we pattern ourselves after Jesus our audience will pattern themselves after Jesus.
  4. Justin & Courtney made me give Duck Dynasty a second chance.
  5. Gus’ “Wreck It Ralph” quotes.  That kid is funny.
  6. Grocery shopping with my favorite little grocery store helper, Beau!
  7. Fridge and pantry are full.
  8. After almost 10 years of being married I finally own a set of mixing bowls!  How did I go this long without them.
  9. My new non-stick pan.
  10. Indoor picnic with Chic-fi-a.
  11. Truett Cathy found a way to make chicken, bread, and pickles heavenly.
  12. Got a powerful power nap in this afternoon.
  13. My house is clean!
  14. Taco bar night.
  15. Fresh tortillas from Kroger.
  16. Josh is always so good to help me get the kitchen all cleaned up after dinner.
  17. The way Beau has started using the phrase, “O.K.?”  Makes me smile every time.
  18. Disney Scene It game night.  Beau let me hold her in my lap the whole time AND the girls won!  Whoo!
  19. Relaxing bath.
  20. When blowdrying my hair I sound almost as good as the girl who sings “Oceans” when I sing “Oceans.”
  21. Zion makes blow drying my hair for 30 minutes enjoyable.
  22. Gateway Church is celebrating it’s 13th year as a church!  I love my church!
  23. In just 13 years Gateway has 5 campuses across the metroplex and 1 church plant in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  24. Gateway grew fast, but it grew healthy.
  25. Found Gus some Pac man bandaids at the dollar spot.  He was pumped!  It’s the little things.
  26. Gus was snuggled up so tightly with his Lotso Huggin’ Bear and Carl the dog when I went to give him a kiss.  Those are some of the luckiest stuffed animals in the world.
  27. Beau’s pretty little mouth.  I love watching her sleep.

Day 258

I’ve never been desperate for water or for something to drink.  When I was a kid we had Dr. Pepper and Kool-Aid on tap.  Now, I have a fridge full of bottled waters to keep my thirst quenched and if I were to run out I could just turn the faucet on my kitchen sink and I’d be set.  Staying hydrated is pretty easy to do in America.

Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.

I love the imagery that David uses in this verse.  A deer is not like us.  When a deer is thirsty he can’t run into Q.T. and get a soda (or pop, as everyone in Oklahoma calls it) and no one is waiting on the sidelines to give him a cup of Gator-aide, so he longs for the water brooks.  He can not survive without them.

A deer makes trips to the water brooks to satisfy his natural every day thirst, to help him make it through the hot summer months, and to seek refuge.  If a deer is being chased by a predator the first place he’s going to run is his drinking spot.  There, he will be able to refresh himself after running for his life and throw the predator off of his scent.  He pants for the water brooks, because he knows they are his life blood.

David’s soul panted for God, like a deer pants for the water brooks.  He knew that he could not survive without Him.

“The enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag.” (Spurgeon)

I think we all need to be reminded that our relationship with God is not just a luxury, but an absolute necessity.  Dr. Pepper is luxury, water is a necessity.  We can survive in the wilderness without Dr. Pepper, but we will not survive without water!  Jesus is necessary for survival, without Him our spirit dry up and die.

We should wake up every morning panting for Him.  We need go to Him to satisfy our spiritual thirst.  We need to go to Him in order to make it through the times when the heat is on.  We need to go to him for refuge.  We need to seek Him like our lives depends on it, because they do.

Stay thirsty my friends… for the living water of Jesus Christ!

  1. I know that Jesus is an absolute necessity!
  2. Jesus is living water!
  3. Jesus satisfies my soul.
  4. I can run to Jesus to seek refuge.
  5. This Is The Air I Breath by Michael W. Smith.
  6. Dr. Pepper
  7. The easy access we have to clean water.
  8. Breakfast in bed with Gussy & Beau.
  9. Lady & The Tramp was on the Disney Channel.  Perfect for Saturday morning cartoons.
  10. I took about 5 cat naps during the movie.
  11. While I was watching/napping Josh was folding laundry, making beds, emptying the dishwasher and vacuuming.  He is awesome!
  12. I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons.
  13. Gus finished his “Jesus Storybook Bible.”  He loved it.  He told me he hugged it last night before he went to sleep.
  14. Gus read a princess book to Beau today.  He is a great big brother.
  15. Josh looked very handsome for church tonight!
  16. Josh asked Gus if he wanted to watch a show that I had told him he couldn’t watch.  Gus was very honest and even though I’m sure he wanted to watch it he told him, “mom said I can’t watch that one.”
  17. Beautiful, beautiful day.
  18. Greek yogurt + fresh berries + honey = perfect afternoon snack.
  19. The Sparkmans are here and made it safely!
  20. I’m comfortable enough with my family that I didn’t feel the need to go crazy cleaning this afternoon.
  21. Brooke & Olivia got to go to church with me tonight.
  22. Got an e-mail from a family who is going to play “Use Me” a song written by my husband while their baby is being dedicated at church this weekend.  That is the perfect song for such a special day.
  23. Found the socks for Josh I just bought that I thought I accidentally threw away!
  24. One of my favorite crock pot recipes for dinner tonight.
  25. Bacon.
  26. Clean sheets!  Seriously, Josh outdid himself today.
  27. Olivia helped me read to the kids before bed tonight.  They love having their cousins here!

Day 247

In 1 Samuel 7 the Philistines found out that the Israelites were gathered together at Mizpah, praying and seeking God.  They figured this would be a perfect opportunity to catch them off guard, so they start heading their way, ready to attack.  When the Israelites heard about the Philistines’ plan, they were afraid.  They asked Samuel to call out to God for them so He could save them.  Samuel called, God heard, and God acted.

1 Samuel 7:10 …the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. 

It was an important victory for the Israelites.  They put their trust in God and they prevailed.  I love what Samuel does next, verse 12 says, Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”

When I read that this morning I immediately thought of these lyrics from “Never Once” by Matt Redman.

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

We have all been there before… kneeling on a battle ground after winning a battle we could have never have won on our own.  I could have never made it through the loss of a child without Jesus.  He never left me alone during that time.  I never felt hopeless.  I never felt like my joy would not return.  He was faithful through every step of the grieving and healing process.

I now have a big Ebenezer stone of my own placed between 2012 and 2013.  It reminds me that, up to this point the Lord has helped me.  Every time I see that stone I will think about His past work in my life, and “His past work is a pledge of future help.” (Guzik)

When I’m kneeling on the battleground I can look back and see His faithfulness and I can look forward and see His faithfulness.  

One more lyric… I think this is my favorite line from the entire Zion album by Hillsong United, it’s from the song Oceans,

“You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now.”  

Up to this point the Lord has never failed me, and He won’t start now!  He is faithful!

  1. Up to this point God has helped me!
  2. Never once did I ever walk alone.
  3. When we call God hears and God acts!
  4. Never Once.  What an awesome song.  Impossible to sing without getting overwhelmed with emotion.
  5. I can look back and see God’s faithfulness, I can look forward and see God’s faithfulness.
  6. He’s never failed and He won’t start now!
  7. Josh unloaded the dishwasher for me this morning.
  8. Josh spent a good part of his day at the mechanic getting my car fixed!
  9. Got all of the errands that I needed to run yesterday taken care of today.
  10. Beau had fun eating her animal cookies and helping me grocery shop this morning.
  11. Fridge and pantry are full again!
  12. Fish taco from Del Taco was actually really good.
  13. Gussy had a great, all green day at school.  I love picking him up and seeing his smiling face!
  14. Popcorn and M&M minis after school snack.
  15. Made dinner tonight… real dinner.  Not PB&Js or frozen pizza or fast food… real dinner!
  16. Fresh Basil.  Does anything smell better?
  17. Dinner was really tasty.  New recipe and everyone seemed to enjoy it!
  18. Had Gus laughing so hard after dinner with quotes from Wreck It Ralph.
  19. Kids were happy to have their Dida home tonight!
  20. I got to give Josh a taste of his own medicine. I got the kids all wound up before I left them in his care for the evening!
  21. Enjoyed my evening with the Frisco pastor’s wives.
  22. New Pastor’s wife – Nadege!  So excited for her and Jeremy!
  23. Decided to put off writing my list knowing that it would keep me up late so I could watch some Duck Dynasty with Josh.  It was a good decision.
  24. Praise report from my friend Sayra about her new little niece.
  25. Josh folded a bunch of laundry for me while I was gone.
  26. Beau says “uh-cause” instead of “because.”
  27. Kissing my sound asleep, sweaty little kids before bed tonight.

Day 237

Before Jesus conquered the grave on Resurrection Sunday, He let it know that He was coming for it when He brought his friend Lazarus who had been dead in a tomb for four days back to life.

John 11:43-44 …He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

If you grew up attending Sunday School you probably remember being wrapped in toilet paper on the day that you heard the story of Lazarus… his grave clothes are always mentioned in the telling of his story.  Jesus had grave clothes too, but He didn’t come out of the tomb wrapped like a mummy.

Peter and the “fast disciple” also known as John,  had just heard the news that Jesus’ body was no longer in His tomb and they ran to go see for themselves.  Of course the fast disciple got their first and here’s what happened next.

John 20:5-7 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

Jesus’ grave clothes had been neatly folded and left in His empty tomb.  Why did John mention that part?  I think it’s because he wanted us to know two things.

One.  Lazarus was not resurrected, he was just brought back to life.  Eventually, he would need those grave clothes again, because eventually he would die again.  Not Jesus.  Those clothes were useless to Him now, because he was resurrected for eternity!  He will never die again!

Two.  Jesus was a carpenter and so was Joseph, His earthly father.  When a carpenter completed a job he would fold up the cloth he had been using to wipe his sweat or dry his hands and place it atop the finished project.  When the person who hired him came to inspect the work and saw a folded towel lying there, they knew that the carpenter had completed his job. Jesus had probably done this himself when he was working as a carpenter and he probably learned it from Joseph.

When the disciples saw the neatly folded clothes they had to have known what Jesus was trying to tell them.  His work was finished.  He had completed His project.  He had conquered the grave once and for all.  I can see John & Peter picking up the clothes and nodding their heads at the subtle yet powerful message that their friend, their savior, Jesus Christ had left behind for them.

I am so thankful that I don’t have to walk around bound by grave clothes because of the completed work of the cross.  Jesus painted a beautiful masterpiece during the 33 years that He lived on the earth, and then, like any artist who was proud of his work, He signed it.  He completed it with His signature, His neatly folded grave cloths.

Romans 8:11  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Rejoice today!  He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!  He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, not in grave clothes, but in ultimate glory!

  1. Jesus conquered the grave!
  2. He is risen!  He is risen, indeed.
  3. The fast disciple wrote about the neatly folded grave clothes.
  4. The Spirit of Him who raise Jesus from the dead dwells in me!!!
  5. Easter has risen to a whole new level for me this year… studying it in depth has been so cool.
  6. Enjoyed my quiet time in the bathtub this morning.
  7. Slept like a baby through the thunder storm last night.
  8. Gus and Papa enjoyed looking at all of the cool cars at the car show this morning.
  9. Beau held her own in the bounce house with all the big kids.
  10. Thousands of Easter Eggs being devoured by all the little locust children.  I’ve never seen so many Easter eggs disappear so quickly.
  11. Jelly beans!
  12. Delicious lunch at 5th St Cafe.  That place never disappoints.
  13. Nana got Gus the stuffed Mario & Luigi he’s been praying for for his Easter basket.
  14. Nana got Beau the ice cream eating Baby Alive for her Easter basket!
  15. Gus got some nice, new Jake pajamas for his basket.
  16. Beau got some pretty Tangled PJs for her basket.
  17. Beau looked absolutely adorable in her Easter outfit.  I’m glad I got to experience that!
  18. Gus in a bow-tie.
  19. J Crew decided to leave the sensor on my shirt and I didn’t notice until a few minutes before church, thankfully my skirt hid it pretty well.
  20. I loved worshipping my King tonight at church.  It was completely overwhelming.
  21. Pastor Robert never waters down the word.  His Easter message was deep and powerful.  Daniel 7!  Amazing!
  22. Full 4:00 service at the GW Frisco campus!
  23. Papa carries a handkerchief… bonus learned how to spell handkerchief tonight.  Who knew it had a D in it?
  24. The kids the cutest little stuffed lambs in their classes at church.
  25. Beau graduated… she’s a Tiny Train now and proud of it!
  26. Yummy roast, potatoes and carrots waiting for us when we got home.
  27. Via Dolorosa.